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When the commercial history of the present day comes to be written the historian could soarcely find a better designation for it 'than "The Age of Kings," ISot that confederacies for the purpose of securing profits by combining to force values of certain commodoties, of which the confederates have secured large stocks, to an artificial level are anything new. Such operations are mentioned— and condemned-— in sacred history, and even now meet with the strong disapproval of economists. The rings of to-day are on a far widerreaohing scale than has ever been known before. Hitherto they have been local m their operations and results but now their transactions frequently affect the whole commercial world. We m New Zealand have felt the effects of the artificial rise and sudden fall m the price of wheat caused some two years ago by the attempt to obtain a monopoly of American stocks and its collapse. Our Australian neighbors have more reoeDtly experienced the effects of the doings of the copper trust — an organisation go immense that its failure brought a great banking corporation down with it, to say nothing of ruin to numbers of financiers and commercial firms. The Association which has just come to grief m an attempt to "corner " the supply of German beet sugar has without doubt had Bomo influence, though remote, upon the price of sugar here. That coal-mining on the West Coast is not being conducted upon strict commercial principles is apparent to all who know that Westporfc coal is being sold m Dunedin for about half the price that is obtained for it m Lyttelton. From New frouth Wales too, comes news of a projected association of colliery owners for the purpose of " regulating " the output, priceß, and other matters concerning the coal trade. This may have been brought into existence by the news from Home a few months ago of amrat comprehensive union of all branches of the coal trade, extending — nominally — even to the consumer ; m fact it was too comprehensive, and it was not long before all parties came to the conclusion to remain as they were. Disaster will doubtless be the fate of the Sydney imitation, and deservedly so. Considering the large amount of public money that ha 3 been spent m developing coal mines m the Australasian colonies it should be within the province of the Government under whose rule such transaction 6 are attempted to put them down by law. The proposed commission of enquiry into coal mining on the West Coast of Now Zealand should be appointed, and should investigate every case where there is a suspicion that the resources of the colony, for the development of which prospectors, roads, railways and harbors have been subsidised, are not being made use of for ulterior purposes, to the detriment of the colony m general and workmen, and consumers m particular.

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Bibliographic details

"RINGS.", Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2173, 15 July 1889

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"RINGS." Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2173, 15 July 1889